New models - Hyundai - Elantra
First drive: New look, better value Elantra
A facelifted, better equipped Elantra is the first of many better value Hyundais
2 Oct 2003
THE first in a wave of better value Hyundais has been rushed into Australian showrooms, with a facelifted Elantra going on sale earlier than expected following a sell-out of the previous model.
Featuring new interior and exterior styling elements, extra equipment and more performance, the sharper Elantra also boasts a keener pricetag.
As part of a new sales strategy for the South Korean car-maker following Hyundai Motor Company’s buy-out of local vehicle distribution, pricing for the Elantra sedan and liftback range now starts at $18,990 - $1000 less than previously.
However, pricing for the refreshed Elantra range no longer includes on-road costs, following Hyundai’s cessation of driveaway pricing. But Hyundai says this is more than compensated for by the extra standard equipment.
The revised Elantra range now opens with the newly named HVT variant, which replaces the former GL entry level car and continues to be available in both sedan and liftback guise, at $18,990. Automatic versions cost an extra $1990, at $20,980.
Representing the first update to the XD Elantra since it appeared in October 2000, Elantra HVT offers a new trapezoidal grille (matt black on liftback, with a chrome surround on sedan), a matching new bonnet, reshaped headlights, new full-width lower airdam, new tail-lights, new sedan bootlid and new wheel trims. Overall length has increased 15mm on the sedan and 25mm on the liftback.
Inside, there’s a new cloth seat trim, new Australian-made VDO instrument clusters with "crater-effect" speedo and tacho, different air vents and extra dash storage recesses.
Replacing the previous 1.8-litre engine is a single new 2.0-litre four-cylinder for all Elantras. Featuring HVT-dubbed variable intake valve timing from which the base model takes its name, the new 2.0-litre engine offers best-in-class power and torque. With a peak of 105kW at 6000rpm and maximum torque of 186Nm at 4000rpm, it beats even Mazda3’s new (non-VVT) 104kW/181Nm 2.0-litre.
The figures are 21Nm up on the previous 1.8-litre at 500 fewer revs, while emissions and fuel consumption are also improved, the latter claimed to have dropped by 0.4L/100km (auto) and 0.2L/100km (manual) compared with the previous non-HVT 2.0-litre.
In terms of equipment, the base HVT Elantra gains the following over the previous GL: front passenger airbag, MP3/CD audio system, rear power windows, remote keyless entry, driver’s seat height/tilt and lumbar adjustment, lidded and repositioned (hatch only) child seat anchors, shopping bag hook, interior light delay off function and a removable tool tray.
The more luxurious Elantra Elite sedan and liftback replaces the previous GLS as the new Elantra flagship and is available now at $23,990 manual and $25,980 auto. In addition to the HVT’s external changes, Elite gets wider six-inch alloy wheels (instead of the HVT’ 5.5-inch steel wheels), plus a rear wing that’s more radical on the liftback.
Inside, Elite heralds leather upholstery for the first time in Elantra, plus "dome-effect" speedo and tacho with blue lighting and a trip computer.
Options are White Pearl paint finish ($374), Mica finish ($225) and Metallic finish ($215), while an Extra Safety Pack including ABS and alloy wheels remains optional on HVT, priced at $2000.
In addition to HVT and the previous Elantra GLS specification, Elantra Elite offers as standard ABS, leather-trimmed seats, armrest, steering wheel and gearknob, twin retractable cupholders (hatch) and lidded storage bin (sedan).
Hyundai Motor Company Australia hopes the facelifted Elantra will match the sales performance of the previous model during its runout phase, with projected sales of between 1000 and 1200 a month and the Elantra HVT liftback being the volume seller.
The slow-selling, "Eurohatch" LaVita continues to be available as the third Elantra model, but is unchanged and is "under review".
Elantra HVT sedan: $18,990 manual, $20,980 auto
Elantra HVT liftback: $18,990 manual, $20,980 auto
Elantra Elite sedan: $23,990 manual, $25,980 auto
Elantra Elite liftback: $23,990 manual, $25,980 autoHVT Extra Safety Pack (ABS/alloys): $2000
White Pearl finish: $374
Mica finish: $225
Metallic finish: $215
(all pricing is recommended retail, plus on-road costs)
DRIVE IMPRESSIONS:AS Hyundai’s global top-seller and top export model, Elantra is crucial to Hyundai’s hopes of attaining 50,000 sales and becoming top importer in Australia by 2005, and a global top five car-maker by 2010.
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